Smart technology has begun its infiltration of the average home, with more devices and features seeming to crop up with each passing day. Intelligent streaming devices and services, as well as AI-driven home assistants (such as the wildly-popular Amazon Alexa), have brought clearer focus to the average consumer on how smart products can improve life dramatically.
The innovations don’t stop there, it is now possible to even control your home’s heating and cooling through the use of a smart thermostat. Not only do these devices allow you to preprogram different schedules and tendencies, they can also learn over time how to use your energy even more efficiently. This can save you big money over the long term, and can do away with much of the aggravation that comes from having to do everything by hand.
Smart Thermostats to Consider
As with virtually every consumer product out there, not all smart thermostats are created equal. Some models are very basic, allowing for simple programming for basic heating and cooling systems. Others pack in advanced features, including the regulation of humidifiers and complex, multi-stage heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. Knowing which features and setups are best for your systems specifically saves time, money, and frustration down the line.
- Type: Decide if you want something basic, or something a bit more advanced. There are three primary types of advanced smart thermostats: those that use learning algorithms, ones based on motion sensors, and those that use geofencing. How you want the system to handle its operation is based heavily on which of these you choose.
- Ease of Use: The most successful pieces of tech are usually those that are simple to operate by virtually any user, and smart thermostats are no different. The best indicator is how easy it is to program in order to get the most-refined operation. The less programming you have to do, the better.
- Ease of Installation: While it is obviously important to easily be able to operate your smart thermostat, it is all for naught if you cannot even install it. Fortunately, most popular models are relatively easy to put in. Look for a smart thermostat whose installation does not exceed your capabilities, and require a professional to come out and put it in for you.
- Compatibility: While most smart thermostats are compatible with the lion’s share of HVAC systems, it pays to make sure yours is on the list. This is especially true if you have a more complex multi-stage system.
- Extra Features: Attractive touchscreens, usage reporting, and integration with smart-home systems are just a few of the helpful features in more advanced models.
The Best Smart Thermostats
No matter what your budget is, what kind of features you want, or which type of HVAC system you have, there is likely to be a smart thermostat to fit your needs perfectly. Following are some of the models that really shine above all else.
If getting simply the best is your goal, and price is less of a consideration, you would be hard pressed to find a better selection than the Ecobee4. This model’s ease of use, attractive design, and a plethora of advanced features, all combine to turn your house into a smart, well-oiled heating and cooling machine. The Ecobee4 even uses individual room sensors to detect hot and cold spots, and adjust its operation in these areas accordingly.
The Ecobee4 includes full integration capabilities with smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa, allowing you to give commands even when away from the thermostat. A well-designed app allows you to control the system with both Android and iOS devices, even when away from home. It is important to note, however, that a price tag usually in the mid-$200’s may put this exceptional model out of some budgets.
If your budget is a bit too small to snap up the Ecobee4, the Nest Thermostat E allows you to enjoy many excellent features and capabilities at a significant savings. Priced in the mid-$100’s, this model uses sophisticated algorithms to learn your specific patterns and activities, and generates a heating and cooling schedule to match. The only real downsides to the E is that it works with fewer HVAC systems, and the touchscreen is not as bright and full of features as some of its counterparts.
The Nest Learning Thermostat includes all the standard features found in the Thermostat E, as well as some extras that may be important to some buyers. These include compatibility with multi-stage HVAC systems, and a brighter and more attractive touchscreen, which is easy to see even if you are completely across the room. The only factor that brings this model in under its previously-mentioned counterpart is relatively few extras for an additional $80.
If price is one of your primary concerns, it pays dividends to take a look at the Honeywell Lyric T5. Priced at around $100, this model combines plenty of basic and more comprehensive features with a cost suited to most budgets. The Lyric T5 is compatible with most of the smart-home assistants, such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and even has the geofencing feature usually only seen in more expensive models. Few models around can compete with the Lyric T5 for those who need to pinch some pennies.
A smart thermostat is one of the best ways to turn your living style into a next-generation experience, rife with the opportunity to save time, money, and aggravation. When selecting your model, always do your research, and even consult with a professional if you are unsure of any part of the selection, installation, or usage processes.